Archive for Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Driver guilty of involuntary manslaughter in triple fatality

April 6, 2005

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— A woman stopped twice for speeding about 90 minutes before a traffic accident that killed three people last year has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Jennifer Adams, 28, formerly of Edgewater, Colo., a Denver suburb, entered the plea Monday in Sherman County District Court. Prosecutors charged her last year with second-degree murder, with involuntary manslaughter as an alternative.

In exchange for the guilty plea, County Atty. Bonnie Selby agreed to dismiss the murder charge, and she will not make a recommendation on the length of sentence.

Adams, a former teacher who will be sentenced May 25, faces up to 14 years in prison.

Selby said Adams also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, driving under the influence and transporting an open container of alcohol.

The crash on Interstate 70 last June 11, just west of the Thomas County line, killed three women from Goodland and injured two children. The victims were Aline Becker, 85; her daughter, Mary Wyant, 55; and granddaughter, Christine Williams, 35. Williams' son and daughter were injured. Their westbound sport utility vehicle was struck from behind by the car Adams was driving.

According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Adams' blood alcohol content after the accident was measured at 0.265 percent, more than three times the level considered evidence of intoxication.

The trooper who stopped her for speeding, twice within about five miles, testified that he couldn't smell alcohol on her breath. Adams was clocked at 96 miles per hour on one stop, 104 mph on the other.

The trooper testified that on both stops he observed Adams closely and she was able to sort through her wallet to find her driver's license and proof of insurance without fumbling.

At the time of the accident, Adams was on leave from her job as a third-grade teacher.

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